Christmas Season Joy!

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A half-done tree 😉  We waited until my husband got home to do the star at the top, which is always down by the youngest in house who is able to walk ❤  Watching my husband pick up our 2nd son and let him put the star on is like winning the lottery.  So. Much. Love.

We got our decorations up last week, it’s been so much fun decorating with the kids and seeing all the ornaments come out again.  I get so much pleasure from just seeing everything again – like seeing old friends… LOL.

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My mom got us this sweet decoration a few years back.  I know Santa is a controversial figure, but I do love the story behind him, the legend if you will.  And I love this decoration because it kind of epitomizes the importance of Jesus’ birth amidst all the craziness of Christmas shopping, Santa visits, or whatnot.  It’s really about this, when it comes down to it.  None of the other stuff matters, and it’s nice to be reminded of that.  We can have all the other joyful stuff, as long as Christ is still the at the center.

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Love lights ❤

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And at night….

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Our famous skyline.

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The top of the building in the center of the above pic, is where my parents bought their chunks of land in the country back in the 80’s.  All the way at the top in the penthouse.

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So cute… 😀

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Our river ❤  There were less lights for some reason this year.  It was still gorgeous and we can’t really complain – but apparently we have new boats that light up the water below them.  LOL

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Our cutie…

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Christmas Candle… I always try to get one every year and light it every night, at least through dinner.  It’s just a simple tradition, and the light is beautiful for the kids (and me) to look at.

LOL our mischievous one!  Wait… they’re both mischievous… oh well!

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Enjoy this season readers!  Please go out and have fun!  Do joyful things… go listen to some carolers, or watch a ballet of the Nutcracker.

Do something to remind yourself of beauty this season!  To recapture how you felt when you were a child.

Go see some glittering, brilliant lights around in your city.  Really look at a well-decorated Christmas tree at a hotel.  Enjoy some wine!  Go out dancing!

Do something this season to bring more joy into your life, please.

Stephanie

 

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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Just wanted to post some pretty pictures and wish my readers a Happy Thanksgiving!  We’ve been pretty busy… lots of baking, decorating, and going to the park nearby to see lights each night!  And just dwelling on the gratitude of all our blessings.

I love this time of year.  I actually enjoy the wildness of it all.

Today we had some of my older son’s friends come over – the house was full of boys running around like crazy 😀 playing loud music in our “music station” of our game room, being silly and dancing around the house ❤

I baked cookies and set the boys all up to decorate some to take home when they got picked up.

It was SO. MUCH. FUN. ❤

I don’t think I’m ever happier than when our house is full of people – or kids – especially crazy boys 🙂  Makes my heart warm seeing them have so much fun.

 

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It’s been so beautiful here lately, and with perfect weather – and just cold enough at night to warrant hot chocolate drinks!  😀

Same scene as above, but this is what we’ve been seeing every night we’ve been able to go:

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The Christmas trees are suspended above a lake to look like they’re floating on top of the water.  Just amazing to see in person!  I tried to get a good pic.

So romantic, and so magical ❤

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Like a winter wonderland. 😀

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I love this time of year… focusing on what we’re thankful for, seeing family and friends and lots and lots of cooking and baking!  It’s hard to imagine a happier time ❤

Hope all you readers have a happy Thanksgiving!

Peace in the Face of Death & Persecution

This is part of Lori Alexander’s most recent post, I thought it was an amazing testimony many of you would like to read and think about.  It was from a woman in her online chat room:

 

“Friends, I know that with the church shooting, many are experiencing fear and apprehension that such a thing could happen. Mentally, we know God is sovereign and in control, but we still experience worry for our families and ourselves. Could this happen to us? I wanted to tell you my story, not to sensationalize, but to testify to God’s faithfulness to his promises. (Warning, it may be upsetting to some.)

During my senior year of nursing school, I was sitting in class taking mid-terms when a classmate came in and began shooting. This was fifteen years ago when the only school shooting had been Columbine. No one knew what was happening and it took a while for us to realize. He shot one professor immediately. Our second professor was very vocal about her Christian faith. (She would always end her lectures telling us that she couldn’t talk about it in class, but if we ever wanted someone to talk to about where she found hope or someone to pray for us,to call or visit her any time after class.)

My classmate then turned, pointed the gun at her and asked, “Where is your God now?” She answered boldly, “Whether I live or die, does not change that God is right here, right now.” He then killed her and turned the gun on the class.

Countless times in scripture God tells us, “Do not be afraid.” I want to tell you that He is faithful to His promises. Hiding under the table that morning I knew I was going to die, but the most amazing thing happened, I felt no fear. There was only peace. I remember being sad about how upset my parents would be, but also at peace that God would take care of them.

The most real and authentic prayer of my life was also going to be my last. It was: (CLICK HERE TO READ THE END).

Single Women: Character Flaws Make a Girl Ugly & Unattractive to Men

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I love Lori Alexander.  I love her brutal honesty and how she just tells it like it is to younger women.

Yes, men will notice a beautiful woman when one comes by, it’s natural and designed by God in their masculine nature to be attracted to a variety of different kinds of beautiful women.  I think most women have to deal with little insecurities, especially at the beginning of a relationship or even the beginning of a marriage when they’re still finding out how deep their husband’s love goes for them.

But I’ve found that most men love their wives incredibly deeply. 

It is amazingly romantic to understand just how much a good man loves his wife!

So… as long as you’ve picked a man of good character, and you’re not neglecting him or making it easier for him to be tempted by porn or other women, you really have nothing to fear here.  

You DO have to fear, however, if you give in to your insecurities and become the traits that Lori mentions in her journal post.

Anger and bitterness ruin the character of a woman… it doesn’t matter what she looks like on the outside, these traits really do make her ugly and unattractive to even her husband.

The quest all of us should be on is to become what Lori writes here:

“Make yourself more beautiful to him

by becoming more kind,

more loving,

more attentive to his needs,

and more gentle.”

 

This is what your husband needs, and he wants all that in only you.

Stephanie

Barbie Knows How to Be Fruitful & Multiply!

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This is so cute!  A fellow police wife and friend has a daughter who takes toys to the store sometimes.  Apparently the whole Barbie family had to go on this grocery outing LOL!

This is what she said —

“My children fully believe in the word of God

and know that we are to be fruitful and multiply,

this includes Barbie world.

I must say that I will miss these days

when I’m caught off guard

either by carrying around a huge stuffed animal that is a duck

or pregnant Barbies…..

it’s Saturday y’all.

That’s all I got.”

This is partly why I love Texas.  It’s the South, the Christian women are REAL.  And little girls still play with Barbie and want to have BIG families.

I know… I’m sorry you’re not Texan 😉  Feel free to move here, though.

Stephanie

So. Much. Love.

So… our schedule has become topsy-turvy the last 2-3 weeks or so.  I just wrote not that long ago, about our Fall routine simplicity and how beautiful it was to serve my husband and son so early in the morning, even sacrificing sleep with an infant, and the reward of getting to know (and sometimes hear even though I try really hard not to listen lol) that they’re talking about things my husband thinks are important for our son.  It’s the only time of day (when he’s not off for the whole day that is) when our son gets to see his dad.  So their time is critically important and so beautiful to orchestrate and watch from a distance.

Go figure that once we’re nicely settled into a good routine, flowing beautifully, a yucky wrench gets thrown in that makes life a lot more difficult.  It’s starting to be funny to me how life is just like that; at least unforeseen things keep us on our toes and understand our place as mere humans ❤

So I’m sitting here in the morning, and in such awe of how much love I have when hearing them talk – hearing my husband gently but authoritatively guide our son in direction, answer his questions, listen to his problems or stories.  This time together is so precious!  I’m so grateful that even though our schedule (my husband’s schedule) has changed again, it still allows for this to happen every morning.

It’s just So. Much. Love.

The Old Days…

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I was having a kind of sentimental mood earlier, and went through a bunch of our old pictures… mostly from our college and dating days.  It is amazing how fast time flies and that we’ve already been married for 10 years!

Reasons why I fell head over heels for this guy are almost endless….

He teased me constantly, in a good way.  We had the best time going back and forth flirting even before we were ever officially in a relationship.

He was so passionate and fun, and always just did his own thing (still does actually).  He’d go a little wild for the sports games at our college and paint his face which I thought was crazy and teased him about.  Then he’d tease me about painting my face and getting me to come with him sometime.  ❤

You can tell his incredibly energy in the old picture below where he went out with a bunch of friends (I didn’t know him yet I think).  He’s the one on the far right with the laughing smile.

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Another cute pic from before we were together, (nope that girl’s not me lol).  Look at his face!! LOL

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This one below was when we were on a date ice-skating.  He skated like a pro!!!  Which is rare for people in Texas lol.  This was because he played hockey before though.  I, on the other hand, kept falling on my butt!  Looking at my smile, I’d say I still had tons of fun.  Everywhere we went together, we just had so much fun and we still do! ❤

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I adore him ❤ ❤ ❤

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2nd year of marriage at one of those live country concerts in Texas that are full of really fun people and dancing.

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When our oldest was an Ewok for Halloween… we’re big Star Wars nerds 😉

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Being all country at the rodeo when our oldest was little…

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At our 8th year anniversary before going out.

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Yea it’s been wild 😉

Our 3-month Beauty

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So September is my birthday month, and I feel like I’ve been given the best birthday present in the world!!!  ❤

After having (and loving) boy stuff for 7 years, it still feels surreal to my husband and I that we have pink stuff around the house and especially all the itsy-bitsy girly clothes in the laundry.

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I think I’m enjoying this a little too much 😉

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Things I Want My Daughter to Know: Don’t Be a Material Girl!

So I mentioned I wanted to start a small series on just writing out things I really would love my daughter to grow up hearing from me constantly… yep I’ll be that kind of mom who kind of somewhat nags her about the real life realities I want her to have in the back of her mind.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ll be doing something, and then I’ll hear my mom’s voice in the back of my head with something she’d say growing up that just rang SO true.  It happened a ton when I first got married within that first year, and not necessarily about relationship stuff, but more about everyday kind of living.

Things like, “HANG UP THAT DRESS!!!  YOU DON’T TREAT YOUR CLOTHES THAT WAY!

Anyway, these probably won’t be one-liners that will stick in her head, but hopefully more ideas that she’ll adhere to when older.

On Materialistic Things

  1. Don’t be a material girl.  Having “nice clothing” does not have to mean you buy designer clothing.  NEVER buy designer items (clothes, shoes, purses, etc.) unless you happen to find them super cheap and really like the piece itself.  If it doesn’t cost too much and genuinely brings you value to your wardrobe, get it. But if not, they are such a waste of money and signal to other people you care more about status than reality.  I got the best comments about my clothes when younger, even though they were always bought on sale.
  2. Never pay full price for anything that can be bought or bargained for at less of the price being asked.  Buy used, learn to make things yourself… basically do anything you can to save money and be able to use it for more important things that bring better value to your life and your family when you have a family.  Buy cars with cash.
  3. Wait for things to go on sale.  There’s absolutely no need to ever buy anything that isn’t on sale.  And even then, if you’re smart, you can usually wait it out until they mark it down even further.  Your Grandma (my mom) used to help me figure out when certain things went on sale – like the only jeans that actually fit my long legs – and I’d literally wait an entire year to get to that amazing sale where they’d magically all be around $10 each.  These were jeans that were normally $50-60.  If you pay attention, stores usually have major sales that come cyclically.
  4. Learn to do the majority of beauty things for yourself so you don’t have to pay someone else to do them.  Unless you really cannot figure it out, learn to dye your hair, do your nails, give yourself manicures and pedicures, etc. for yourself.  It just saves so much money and is really beneficial to learn to do these beauty habits yourself anyway.  You can even easily MAKE MONEY if you learn to do these things well, because you can offer your skills to friends, family, neighbors, etc. and create a little side business if you want.
  5. With that being said though, your skin (your face) is very important to maintain when young.  Because the chemicals used in maintaining skin care are tricky and almost impossible to make, spending some (but not too much) on skincare makes sense overtime.  Just know that there is never going to be some magical ointment that will make you somehow not age.  Natural remedies girls learn to make for their skin at home are great and very very cheap, but while they do help some, they ultimately are just not anywhere near the strength of what your dermatologist has in her office.  Find a good, trustworthy dermatologist, and try to stick with her for life.  I’ll help you there 😉
  6. Accept aging.  I’m not sure how true it is that women can really age gracefully, I used to believe it was possible and I still hope it is, but I can literally feel my face getting older as I type lol!  Just understand that aging is going to happen, and stay away from things that go above and beyond to try to make you look younger.  Botox and fillers and strange things dermatologists are always asked to do from the 35+ crowd just do not look good.  Don’t do it!  They make women look so unnatural and actually take away from their beauty!  Preserve your beauty as much as you can with age, but always avoid looking “unnatural.”
  7. Always stick to a budget when it comes to buying materialistic girly things.  Set aside a certain amount of money per month for girly items and don’t let yourself go above that.  Try to build up a little “savings account” for things like that, since makeup, hair styling tools, clothes etc. can add up.  Always search for the best deals but getting good quality when it comes to hair styling tools. This means they may cost more, but it’s worth it to not damage your hair.  Having a mini-savings built up for times when your favorite straightener or curling iron mysteriously go out is helpful.

And most importantly, most men (and even women to a certain degree) don’t like material girls.  From how much money they tend to unnecessarily spend, to their attitude, it’s almost universal that men don’t like a girl or woman who is that high maintenance.  Being a material girl is also just extremely wasteful of the items themselves since it’s driven by a mentality to always want the next best thing.  This is why designer boots can be found frequently at thrift stores, barely used, because women only wear them a few times before deciding they’re somehow now “out of season.”

Let me tell you a secret.

Truly great boots, or clothes for that matter, are hardly ever “out of season” unless you’re talking about Autumn vs. Summer. 😉  In reality you only need a minimum amount of really great shoes or accessories to look very well put together.

It’s much better to have a few really great wardrobe pieces that are of good quality that

What a Marriage Should Look Like

I found this man, Jordan Peterson, via youtube just recently.  Apparently he’s been around for awhile and I’ve been living under a rock… or just never-ending laundry LOL!  But he is brilliant and reminds me so much of the way my dad talks and thought about life.  Just very addicting to listen to, that kind of beautiful mind.

This is one of THE BEST description breakdowns of what a truly great marriage should look like in practical terms.  He covers all aspects, even describing almost to a “T” my husband’s tattoo he has of our marriage (the three strand cord), however he leaves out God since I don’t believe this man is a Christian.

One of the things that I enjoyed hearing Professor Peterson describe was just how ridiculously HARD it is to have and maintain a marriage like that… it’s definitely not something that happens by sheer chance or luck like I’ve heard people say.  Having a marriage like this is mostly picking the right person, but it’s also deliberate and takes constant minding to it with maturity.

I got my  husband to listen to it with me shortly after I found it and was so excited, telling him it was “us!”  I am so happy to have this with my man, and look forward to many many more years ahead making it better and better!